Precisely because the Lager [camp] was a great machine to reduce us to beasts, we must not become beasts; that even in this place one can survive, and therefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness; and that to survive we must force ourselves to save at least the skeleton, the scaffolding, the form of civilization. We are slaves, deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength, for it is the last — the power to refuse our consent.

Primo Levi (1919-1987) Italian Jewish chemist and writer
Survival in Auschwitz, “Initiation” (1958) [tr. Woolf (1961)]
Added on 15-Jun-11 | Last updated 15-Jun-11
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